(KCPW News) A bill banning the use of hookahs and e-cigarettes in public places under the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act will be debated by the full senate after a senate committee unanimously approved it today. The bill does carve out exemptions for some established businesses, like the Huka Bar and Grill in Murray. Owner Nate Porter says exposure to hookah vapor is expected by patrons of his business.
“Nobody is involuntarily being exposed to hookah when they go into the Huka Bar and Grill. Nor does the debate for children apply when we’re a 21 and over establishment. So we’re a different entity,” says Porter.
However, the Utah chapter of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network opposes the bill because of the exemptions. Michael Siler, the organization’s director of government relations, says the bill runs contrary to the legislature’s responsibility to protect everyone’s health.
“Our opposition is an endorsement of good, comprehensive, science-based public health polity which unfortunately this bill will not produce,” says Siler.
Third substitute House Bill 245 includes a five-year sunset, meaning if it’s passed, lawmakers will have to take up the debate again in 2017. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Brad Last, says this allows time for the completion of more studies on the effects of second-hand hookah and e-cigarette vapor.